mamiya 645 cameras

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by scott_burrows, Aug 28, 2001.

  1. i am wanting to purchase a new mamiya 645 camera to kick my medium
    format career off. i was wanting to know any differences between the
    new 645E and the 645AF apart from the autofocus features and the (AUS)
    $4000 difference in price. i am wanting to do architectural and
    interior shoots. is this a good camera to begin with?
  2. The biggest difference (aside from the AF) is that that 645E has a non-removable back (like the pentax 645). To me, this makes it not worth it. Being able to change film and use a polaroid back is very important to me.
  3. There is a promo in the US (I don't know if you have a similar deal going in Oz) for the 645E in which you get a free 55/2.8 or 150/3.5 with the purchase of the 645E (and 75 lens). I looked at this camera before I bought the Pentax 645N. For me, the price was great on the Mamiya but I couldn't see the meter read-outs on it. The Pentax was much better, felt better in my hands, etc. My only advice is to go to a real store and get these cameras in your hands. Then decide what best suits you.

  4. should have pretty good descriptions of the various

    You don't need autofocus for architectural/interior work. You probably
    will want (I would) a removable finder (so you can use a waist-level
    finder when the camera's backed up against a wall), which rules out
    the 645 AF. You'll probably want interchangeable backs, which rules
    out the 645E and the Pentax. And you'll probably want at least the
    option of using a wide-angle shift lens, which rules out both Contax
    and Pentax (granted, you can use the Pentax 67 75mm shift lens on the
    P645 with an adaptor, but it won't be wide angle).

    Sounds to me like a 645 Pro or Pro-TL, new or used, is your best bet.
    Don't know what prices are like in Australia, but many Americans are
    now buying their Mamiyas from overseas, e.g. at

    Good luck.
  5. I have owned a number of Mamiya cameras over the years and would like to offer he following advice: The 645E is a great SLR MF camera EXCEPT that it does not offer removable backs. To me, this is a major negative. In fact, I'd advise you to get an old C330f TLR (around $300 US with an 80mm lens) over the 645E, if you think that non-removable back is not critical.

    If you agree that removable backs is important (and not everyone does), then I think the question becomes one of 645 Pro TL or 645 AF. (I presently own a 645AF but owned a 645 Pro for three years prior). The obvious difference between the cameras is autofocus. In my opinion, autofocus can be BOTH extremely helpful and totally unnecessary. For example, when I photograph a wedding (or party) and take semi-formal and more candid photographs, I find autofocus to be extremely helpful. It helps me to capture a "moment" that I may have missed with my Pro TL. However, when I'm out photographing nature/landscape, I normally turn the autofocus off as I find it totally unnecessary and occassionally irritating.

    A less discussed but (in my opinion) important advantage of the 645AF is the flash sync speed. The 645 Pro TL and 645E offer a top flash sync of 1/60 (unless you buy one of the leaf shutter lenses). The 645AF features a top flash sync of 1/125. I think this is *real* advantage, but not everyone would agree. Of course, all the lenses with C330F have leaf shutters... :)

    My $0.02.
  6. I would not buy a camera for architectural/interior work that did not
    have an interchangeable (removable) viewfinder, and as far as I know
    this disqualifies the 645AF.
  7. Why John? Unless you have a specific need for a waist-level finder for this type of work (and not everyone will), a removable finder does nothing that interchangeable screens cannot do. And a right-angle viewfinder accessory will handle most low-angle needs.

    In the 645AF, Mamiya has integrated the metering and film drive into the camara body (and back system), which renders the need for interchangeable finders rather moot.

    One issue perhaps is viewfinder coverage. None of the MF format cameras to my knowledge give you a 100% viewfinder. I believe the 645AF finder is something like 89% coverage of what's on film. This would not be acceptible in a pro 35mm camera, but it's probably average for the format.
  8. I started out as an architectural photographer with an old Mamiya 645, the PC lens and the 35mm lens it worked, but you probably soon needs a lot more lens movement, than any medium format SLR camera can provide, my best advice, if you are serious about architectural and interior shoots, is try look for one of the small view cameras, from Arca Swiss, Linhof or others, or take a look at the Silvestri T30.

    Best regards
  9. the mamiya af camera is great, but the knob placement leaves something to be desired and because there's no way to lock down the shutter speed dial i'm constantly inadvertently knocking that thing out of place...

    of the af cameras, the contax 645 is the better.

    or if you dont need af you can do like me and get the mamiya 645 pro tl kit.
  10. If you want to shoot architectural and interior shoots your best bet will be a view camera (field model) from Sinar(F) or other major brands. 4x5 film is very expensive but you can use 120 or 220 film if you buy foll film adapter (available from Horseman and some more companies). The drawback is view cameras are bulky and not for fast movements.

Share This Page